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In Hollenbeck, breaking away from the gang life can be more difficult than getting into it. But, there is treatment available. At Homeboy Industries, thousands of troubled young men and woman have made that transition out of gang life.
The agency was founded by Father Gregory Boyle, a Catholic priest. It provides counseling, job training, and also free tattoo removal. To broaden his outreach, Boyle recently moved into a centralized location near downtown Los Angeles and opened a full service restaurant and bakery.
Instead of demonizing gangsters, Father Boyle embraces them, regardless of their past. He says it has allowed him to reach out to more young people at risk. “This place is soaked with a sense of redemption,” said Boyle. “I have several of them who, not that you write off but, in your head you toy with the idea that I’m not sure he’s ever going to be able to steer this thing in another direction and low and behold they do.”
On Friday Anderson was filling in for Regis on "Live with Regis and Kelly" when Guy Fiere from the Food Network stopped by to challenge Anderson and Kelly with something called "Face the Cookie" – 60 seconds to move as many cookies from your forehead to mouth without using your hands... just facial muscles.
It was our Shot tonight, and on Monday we'll be seeing how our 360° crew stacks up.
We also want to how you do! Send pictures, results, videos! You can upload videos and pictures at iReport.com. We'll share some of the best on Monday's show.
A cross between the AC360° series "What's Next" and The Proust questionnaire, AC360° Producer David Puente asks newsmakers his own set of questions. If in The Proust Questionnaire – named for the writer Marcel Proust who popularized it – the individual responding reveals his or her true nature, then in this questionnaire we'll learn about the individual and about "what's next" in the coming century.
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Cutting-edge fitness guru David Barton, the man behind the massively successful DavidBartonGym health clubs (located in Miami, New York, Chicago, Seattle and soon in LA and Las Vegas), reveals more about his obsession with big muscles and sculpting bodies. The Ivy-league educated fitness and business expert also ponders his own tastes which he calls “outlandish” but not “extravagant.” You decide.
1. Will Michelle Obama's arms make a mark on the First Ladies of the future? Look for a future female President.
2. Is it possible for fitness to go out of fashion? When I started, this business wasn’t trendy. Now that I’m around, I’d hate to see a world of out of shape people.
3. What is your motto? Look better naked.
Tonight we look at the battle over what public schools should be teaching your kids. In Texas today the state's board of education approved a new social studies curriculum that conservatives say is meant to correct for a liberal bias among the teachers who initially drafted the standards. The vote came after days of charged debate.
Tom Foreman is following the debate. He's got a look at what may be and out of textbooks.
Out: calling the U.S. government "Democratic". In: Calling it a "Constitutional Republic." Also out: too much talk about Thomas Jefferson and the enlightenment, which stressed reasoning and science over blind faith. Also In: More recognition of the contributions of religious leaders, like Moses.
All of this matters, because with almost five million students in Texas, the state buys a lot of textbooks that could determine what publishers put out for America's other school children. Though, in this digital age, that is not as big of a concern as in past years.
What do you think of the decisions? Weigh in below.
Tonight we'll also wrap up our special series "Homicide in Hollenbeck". We have more on the special mission of a priest in East L.A. helping gang members leave the bloodshed. You'll also hear from actor/activist Martin Sheen who's helping with the cause.
We also have an update on "The Dating Game" serial killer. He was Bachelor One on the 70's hit reality show and a photographer who took many pictures of women and children. The question tonight is were any of the people in the photos his victims? Police need your help. We'll give you the latest on the case.
Tonight on 360°, a brazen case of health care fraud at the world's largest pharmaceutical company. If a person had done what this company did, they would have locked him up and thrown away the key, but as you'll see that didn't happen. They got special treatment. Plus, more of Anderson's interview with Chaz Bono, who used to be Chastity. He explains why he made the transformation from female to male.
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Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles before delivering a speech at United Nations headquarters March 12, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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Homeboy Industries traces its roots to “Jobs For A Future” (JFF), a program created in 1988 by Father Gregory Boyle while he was serving as pastor of Dolores Mission parish in Boyle Heights. Begun as a jobs program in 1988, offering alternatives to gang violence in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city, the program soon grew beyond the parish.
With the addition of a small bakery in a run-down warehouse across the street from Dolores Mission, JFF had its own business, one where it could hire the most challenging, difficult to place young people in a safe environment. The hope was that they could learn both concrete and soft job skills, to make them stronger, better prepared candidates for permanent employment. A tortilla stand in Grand Central Market downtown solidified the evolution of JFF into Homeboy Industries.
In only a few years, Homeboy Industries has had an important impact on the Los Angeles gang problem, with young people from over half of the region’s 1,100 known gangs seeking a way out through Homeboy. Thousands of young people have walked through the doors of Homeboy Industries looking for a second chance, and finding community. Gang affiliations are left outside as these young people work together, side by side, learning the mutual respect that comes from shared tasks and challenges.
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National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Transgender people are targets of discrimination in many areas of their lives. Until recently, data on the character and prevalence of this discrimination has been limited to small studies and anecdotal reports. The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force undertook the first comprehensive national effort to document this problem. You can view the findings here.
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Enrique “Kiki” Frutis, 33, is about to take the biggest step of his life away from the only lifestyle he has known. He has been a member of one of the most notorious street gangs in Hollenbeck. Kiki was 14 when he joined a gang - beaten up by fellow gang members. It's a common initiation meant to test loyalty and give new members a taste of what gang life is all about.
When we first met Kiki five years ago, he was the hardest of the hard-core…his bragging, his brash certainty about life in a gang–he was deep in it. Kiki made a powerful impression. If a fellow gang member was killed, he said that gang members would take the law into their own hands. “The cops, they got so, so many murders on their hand, I mean, we'd rather take our own actions”, he said in a 2004 interview. By the age of 26, he had been shot three times.
Kiki got tired of being asked, “Where are you from?” by rival gang members so he had “The Fence” tattooed prominently on the back of his shaved head. Though he joined the gang for a sense of belonging, after years of falling into the cycle of violence, Kiki often found himself alone, he told Anderson Cooper in 2004.
Twenty years later, most of his friends are now in prison or dead, he said. Last September, Kiki was released from prison after serving time for a parole violation. In prison, he told CNN that after 20 years in the gang life, he wanted out. But, he’s finding that getting out is much harder than getting in.
As he arrived at Homeboy Industries, last February, the city’s largest gang intervention agency, Kiki began the long process of removing the tattoos that once told his story of being in the gang. “I feel good, trying to get my life back together. You know. I got to take one day at a time, I guess. I’m making the first step,” he said.
Father Gregory Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, has known Kiki for two decades. “You think Kiki has woken up to the reality of gang life?, asked CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I would say in terms of the gang issue, yeah. Everybody has that moment where they say I’m tired of being tired. That’s pretty much where he’s been,” said Boyle.
In Hollenbeck, surviving beyond the age of 30 is already a remarkable statistic for hard core gang members like Kiki.
“Are you hopeful about him?, asked Cooper. “Yeah, I mean, I think he’s got the right attitude. Sometimes people have to hit rock bottom but his head is in the right place right now and that’s good.” He’s struggling still but I don’t think he’s struggling with the gang part but not everybody who walks through the door is ready and he hasn’t always been ready but I would say he is now. That’s why I’m going to hire him,” said Boyle.
Kiki will soon have a job with Homeboy Industries because Father Greg Boyle is giving him a chance for a new life in Hollenbeck.